Food Law News - UK - 2012

FSA News Item, 23 January 2012

MEAT HYGIENE / ENFORCEMENT - Cause for concern list published

Starting today, the FSA is routinely publishing the full list of those meat plants that, on the basis of their audit reports, are considered 'cause for concern'.

This follows agreement by the FSA Board last year to publish this information as part of the FSA’s ongoing commitment to openness and transparency. Last week, the FSA began the regular publication of audit reports of approved meat plants in England, Scotland and Wales.

'Cause for concern’ is a process developed in response to Professor Pennington's report on the 2005 E.coli outbreak in Wales, which recommended that there needed to be improved management oversight of poorer performing meat plants. The process makes it clear which plants need to improve their standards to ensure risks to public health are kept to a minimum.

There are currently eight premises on the list. This will be updated, initially on a weekly basis, to reflect changes as meat plants move on or off the list.

Tim Smith, Chief Executive of the FSA, said: 'Publication of the cause for concern list is our latest commitment to presenting our work in the public domain. We think it's important to highlight plants that continue to give us concern. Our staff work to ensure that meat is safe to eat and they continue to drive up standards. 148 meat plants have appeared on the list since it began in October 2009, and the number currently stands at eight. This demonstrates that plants can make improvements, and those on the list need to improve their performance, get themselves out of cause for concern, and then stay out.

 ‘If our inspectors decided that hygiene standards in a plant are so poor that public health could be at imminent risk, we would immediately stop that plant from operating. However, for those businesses that could improve quickly by following our advice, we hope that publication of this list will push them to raise their game and get off the list.'

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